Eli Tomac scored his fifth consecutive Monster Energy Supercross victory by winning Round 12 in Seattle, Washington, and extending his points lead.
The Yamaha rider put on a showcase Saturday night, leading all 26 laps, lapping all but seven riders and winning by more than 10 seconds.
With the 44th win of his career, Tomac tied Chad Reed for fourth on the all-time list. If Tomac can win four of the last five rounds, he will tie Ricky Carmichael for third. At 50 wins, second-ranked James Stewart is just out of reach during 2022.
With a 54-point lead, Tomac has a two-race lead over Jason Anderson and could wrap up the championship as early as Round 15 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
Tomac doesn’t get a lot of holeshots. He’s made a career of coming through the pack, but in a season when it appears he is on a collision course with one record after another, Tomac is checking all the boxes. He jumped out to a safe lead over Justin Barcia in the first half of the race and when that rider crashed midway, he was more than 12 seconds ahead of the field.
“My main focus was to put the hammer down,” Tomac told NBC Sports’ Will Christien. “Justin (Barcia) was putting the pressure on me those first few laps and we were putting on a heater pace. I just kept going and was really good that first part. Once he made the mistake, I had a big gap, but it was tough.”
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Last week’s dustup with Barcia was damaging to Anderson’s title push. Finishing sixth at Indianapolis, Anderson had not been in the top five in three weeks, so it was critical for him to get a strong run. Anderson won his heat but could not catch Tomac in the main event. Anderson minimized the points’ damage by finishing second.
“That track out there was brutal,” Anderson told Daniel Blair. “I wasn’t riding the best all day, but I was able to salvage all that. Coming out second was nice, and it didn’t cost me three points or three grand to get past Barcia, so it was a good night.”
Anderson’s final comment from the podium was in reference to the rough riding penalty Barcia incurred last week for an incident in Indianapolis.
A week after being docked three points and fined $3,000 for his contact with Anderson in Indianapolis, Barcia won his heat race. He has five podiums this year but has not yet found Victory Lane. Barcia jumped wide midway through the main and landed on a Tuff Blox. He remounted and finished fifth, which is his eighth consecutive finish of sixth or better.
Marvin Musquin earned his second consecutive podium finish with a third place. Musquin is two points behind Cooper Webb for fifth in the points.
“To get on the podium tonight is huge,” Musquin said, “I had a good day. Practice went really good; the speed was good. I just didn’t have the pace the first few laps, I got smoked by the two guys out front. They were gone.”
Malcolm Stewart had a strong fourth in the main event after leading seven of nine laps and finishing third in his heat. In fact, Heat 2 was a snapshot of the early part of the season with Anderson winning, Tomac finishing second, and Stewart in third. It was only a few weeks ago that these three riders were the top points contenders.
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Chase Sexton suffered a hard crash in qualification and missed the main event after his bike landed on him.
Cooper Webb also experienced problems in the prelims but was able mount up for his heat. He got a slow start in his heat and climbed to only sixth. He also finished sixth in the main event.
The 250 West riders have not been on the track for five weeks, and the riders chasing points’ leader Christian Craig were determined to make up some ground in the championship.
In the opening minutes of the race, it didn’t seem they would be able to slow his momentum when Craig got a strong start and scooted out to an early lead. But Michael Mosiman locked onto his back wheel and would not allow him to get away. Three minutes into the Main, Mosiman made an aggressive move on Craig and dropped the leader in his tracks. Craig fell to sixth after the contact.
Meanwhile, the battle at the front of the pack continued with Hunter Lawrence now chasing Mosiman.
Of course, Craig is the points’ leader for a reason. He posted the fastest laps in the middle segment and slowly cut the leader’s advantage as Lawrence passed Mosiman and tried to ride off into the sunset.
“I’m so focused on every day,” Lawrence told NBC Sports’ Daniel Blair. “Honestly, the team today saved my ass. We were struggling with the bike through the whole day show. We had to make some calls that were like, if we get it wrong we could be screwed. I had to have faith and trust in my team.”
Lawrence was not as pleased with his first Supercross win as he might have been because it came in a Triple Crown format. He was running well the last time the 250 West riders hit the track in Anaheim before crashing, so this race held a special place.
With five minutes remaining in the race, Craig caught Mosiman and breezed past. Craig closed in on Lawrence and cut the lead to less than two seconds. The lead fluctuated and the outcome was not certain until the checkers, but Craig still had the biggest comeback of the race.
“I’m not going to lie; I’m sour about how that all went,” Craig told Will Christien. “I did what I did. I started out front and Michael was a little faster in the beginning. That’s three times now I get cleaned out. I’m sour, but I was able to once again salvage, get up, put on a charge and get up to second.”
Mosiman held on to finish third after repulsing a huge charge by Jo Shimoda, but that was enough to drop him from second to third in the standings. Mosiman is now 30 points out of the lead and four behind Lawrence.
“It was going really good for me,” Mosiman said. “I made some really good solutions. I had a rough start in qualifying and the heat – and then I ripped one in the Main. I was proud I was right up there with Christian. I was fast in the whoops, I really feel like I had something for him tonight. I made an aggressive move going for the championship and I ended up bending my rotor. I guess that’s what happens when you’re trying to make aggressive passes. I didn’t have any rear brake for the rest of the moto.”
Jo Shimoda in fourth and Vince Friese rounded out the top five.
ROUND 1, ANAHEIM: Ken Roczen renews battle with Cooper Webb by winning the opener
ROUND 2, OAKLAND: Jason Anderson wins for first time since championship season
ROUND 3, SAN DIEGO: Chase Sexton (450s) and Michael Mosiman (250s) deliver first career wins
ROUND 4, ANAHEIM: Four races, four winners as Eli Tomac solidifies points lead
ROUND 5, GLENDALE: Tomac wins back-to-back races in Arizona Triple Crown
ROUND 6, ANAHEIM: Anderson ties Tomac with two 2022 wins
ROUND 7, MINNEAPOLIS: Anderson does it again and closes to within three of Tomac
ROUND 8, ARLINGTON: Tomac wins overall as Anderson takes two features
ROUND 9, DAYTONA: History made as Tomac sets Daytona Supercross record
ROUND 10, DETROIT: Tomac wins incident-filled, third consecutive
ROUND 11, INDIANAPOLIS: Tomac extends lead as competition falters